Liberty Painting

How to Clean Cabinets Before Painting?

How to Clean Cabinets Before Painting?

Preparing the surface is the most crucial step before painting your cabinets. When done correctly, repainted cabinets will last a long time and look fantastic. When done incorrectly, adhesion issues can arise. Today, we’ll teach you how to clean kitchen cabinets before painting.

In addition, kitchen cabinet painting differs from drywall painting. More preparation is required. If you don’t like the color, you can easily paint over drywall again. However, if the paint fails due to poor surface preparation, you’d have to peel everything off and start over with cabinets.

Cleaning Cabinets Before Painting Is Crucial

Kitchen cabinets that are oily and filthy prevent primer and paint from adhering. Indeed, the worst cabinet sections are often those above stoves and below sinks.

So, you should adequately wash cabinets before painting. Also, remove all the doors and hardware first to clean the cabinets correctly. Additionally, various cleaners for cabinets before painting exist, such as liquid deglossers, denatured alcohol, degreasers, and trisodium phosphate. Hence, Dawn dish soap works as a kitchen cabinet degreaser before painting. You can use Dawn dish soap to eliminate light oil and dust buildup. Yet, it won’t be enough to remove heavy grease buildup.

What Are the Best Cleaners for Cabinets Before Painting?

Distilled Alcohol

You must have tried various things over the years, but you must find that Dawn dish soap and denatured alcohol work best for removing tough grease. Strong grease, stains, and sticker adhesive may all be eradicated with denatured alcohol.

Additionally, denatured alcohol evaporates off the surface, leaving no trace. Also, trisodium phosphate is a fantastic cleanser, but if you don’t thoroughly rinse it off, it leaves a residue on the surface that might lead to primer and paint adhesion issues.

Protective gloves should always be worn whenever using a liquid cleanser or denatured alcohol. Likewise, Dawn dish soap removes grime and food stains from cabinets without leaving them greasy. Green coarse scrub pads are ideal for cleaning the surface.


The protective lacquer finish that most stained cabinets has to be either sanded off or deglossed with a chemical cleaning. The shiny lacquer will soften, eliminate the glossiness, and improve primer and paint adhesion.

Sand the Cabinets

Despite claims to the contrary on the labels of several primers and liquid deglosser solutions, sanding is always a good alternative. Make sure to clean and sand everything carefully before priming and painting cabinets. Likewise, sanding removes the shiny lacquer from the top, revealing the raw wood so that primer and paint adhere nicely.

Electric Sanders

A random orbital sander is the best option when preparing cabinets for paint. Hand sanding several doors takes too long and is less efficient than an electric sander. This sander can sand a door’s surface except for the small paneled areas. You can use a folded sheet of sandpaper to scuff sand such spots quickly.

Grit of Sandpaper

120 and 150 Grit Sandpaper Perform Well When Sanding Cabinets

120 and 150 grits perform well when sanding cabinets to remove lacquer and reveal the bare wood. You could also use 100 grit, but you shouldn’t go much lower because doing so would be wasteful and damaging to the wood. You will love 220 grit for sanding in between applications of primer. Indeed, this grit will give the surface excellent smoothness without removing the primer.

Eliminate Dust

If you are painting cabinets, dust is your adversary. After each sanding, always clean the surface of any remaining dust. In the same way, to remove thick dust, use a shop vac with a brush attachment, with either a moist rag or a tack cloth.

Apply the Primer Twice

Man Applying Primer Twice to Kitchen Cabinets

The kind of primer used when preparing cabinets for painting is crucial. Avoid using latex primers. They are too flimsy and will allow the wood’s natural oil to get into the coat of paint, ruining it.

Shellac or oil-based primer is the ideal primer to use while preparing cabinets. Both stop stains entirely from seeping into your paint and dry firmly. Finally, we advise using two layers of primer. Before painting your cabinets, apply two coats for increased durability and ensure the surface is well sealed.

Hire the Best Painting Cabinet Services in Fort Washington, MD

If you plan to paint your cabinets soon, don’t hesitate to contact us to receive the best painting services in the area.

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